He may be 19 now, but I will always remember him best as that boy who looked so much like the first actor to own my heart. In fact, for years I only knew him by his nickname.
Was it ten years ago? As one child actor was making waves internationally for his role in the runaway hit, The Way Home, another wave had crashed ashore on my small screen. I was just minding my own business that day in 2002, but a monster called Hallyu grabbed me by the neck and threw me inside a dungeon where I was fed a stream of chaste dramas with stars whose names sounded like Bae Yong-joon, Choi Ji-woo and Lee Byung-hun. Two years later, Hallyu smacked me hard with a force called So Ji-sub. Life would never be the same again.
As a loony Jisub fan (even founded an international fan club for him, hello), I soon learned about his junior version and was flabbergasted that I had watched Yoo Seung-ho long before I even knew Jisub existed. The Way Home was one of my first k-movies and I was completely charmed by the story and setting and characters. A little boy is sent to live with his mute grandma in the mountains. He is as spoiled and demanding as they come, but she never wavers in her gentle devotion to him. The movie is sweet, funny and moving; even now, ten years later, I remember many of its scenes vividly.
What have I watched of Little Jisub since? Quite a lot, it turns out. He was the young Andrea in Love Letter, a discovery that thrilled me to bits. (See, that’s why I will never quit being a card-carrying spoilerphobe.) Six episodes in, the best part about the drama is still his scenes.
Little Jisub was also young Yi Soon-shin in Immortal Yi Soon-shin (guess who plays the adult version? *double squee*) and young Damduk in Legend (*single squee*). I remember feeling really dejected when it was time for Damduk to grow up and become a great king; why couldn’t he stay a kiddo forever? As young as this, pretty please!
In Hearty Paws, a terrible movie saved only by the competent young cast and an adorable dog, he was the brother who would do anything for his little sister. I felt so manipulated by the plot but will watch the movie again in a heartbeat just to see him.
In Queen Seondeok he was a forgettable role (don’t ask me what he played; I can’t remember because I only had eyes for crazy Bidam), but in Flames of Ambition he was an utter dreamboat, at least in the nineteen episodes I’ve watched. Someone please remind me to finish this drama.
When I read today that Yoo Seung-ho was going to enlist in the army soon, my heart sank a little. How am I going to get any sleep worrying about him the next two years?
Stay warm and safe, eat a lot, and never forget that Noona loves you, Little Jisub!